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Leopold Godowski Program Notes and Sheet Music

Leopold Godowsky (February 10, 1870 – March 10, 1938) was a Lithuanian-born American pianist and composer. He was one of the most technically proficient pianists of his time, and his transcriptions of classical works for the piano were highly acclaimed.

Godowsky was born in Vilnius, Lithuania, to a Jewish family. He began studying the piano at the age of four, and by the time he was 12 he was giving concerts in Europe. In 1884 he moved to the United States, where he continued his studies with Anton Rubinstein and Franz Liszt.

Godowsky made his New York City debut in 1886, and quickly became one of the most popular pianists in the city. He was known for his dazzling technique and his ability to play the most difficult passages with ease. He also had a gift for improvisation, and his encores were often more memorable than his programmed works.

In addition to his performing career, Godowsky was also a prolific composer. He wrote over 300 works for the piano, including transcriptions of classical works, original compositions, and etudes. His transcriptions were particularly innovative, and he often added new harmonies and melodies to the original works.

Godowsky died in New York City in 1938. He was 68 years old.

Here are some of his most famous works:

  • Études, Op. 23 (1899)
  • Études, Op. 39 (1914)
  • Variations on a Theme by Paganini, Op. 35 (1909)
  • Transcriptions of works by Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, and Mozart

Godowsky's music is still performed today by pianists and chamber ensembles. He is considered one of the most important pianists and composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

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